- Crop Production: plant breeding and genetics
There is little knowledge about the phenotypic variation within little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) (LBS) accessions collected throughout Texas. A better understanding of the relationship between phenotypic characteristics of our current collection as well as commercial releases and their original collection site characteristics would help guide future ecotypic releases. We have a Texas Native Seed (TNS) collection that encompasses regional diversity, but we are unsure of its genetic variability as expressed in a single environment. We hypothesize that LBS within that collection will show phenotypic differences corresponding with their geographical origin, namely edaphoclimatic variability as well as latitude and longitude. Our study will address two objectives in relation to accession origin: 1. determine the plant nutrient value at inflorescence and post-frost; and 2. evaluate plant physiological characteristics, especially flowering date, at inflorescence and post-frost. We will incorporate a parallel RADseq study to map geographical ecotypes. Having a better understanding of nutritive value and physiological characteristics at inflorescence and post-frost as these relate to the original germplasm genetics as well as collection site characteristics such as soil, climate and historical management will guide future restoration projects as they select for ecotypic variation within the TNS LBS collection.
This project will consist of two objectives for the TNS LBS accession collection as well as currently sold releases as they relate to original site collection characteristics: 1. Determine the plant nutrient value at inflorescence and post-frost and relate it to original germplasm collection environment. 2. Evaluate plant physiological characteristics at inflorescence and post-frost and correlate it to the original germplasm collection environment.